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Senate Committee hears from Spence and other chiefs

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence was among those First Nations leaders to appear before the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, which is conducting a study on challenges relating to First Nations infrastructure on reserves. In October 2011, Spence declared a state of emergency in Attawapiskat in response to dropping temperatures and the health risk presented by inadequate housing. It was the third declared state of emergency in as many years. The government responded, in part, by saying they were unaware of the crisis and by putting Attawapiskat First Nation under third party management. Spence went on a six-week hunger strike and her actions helped fuel the Idle No More movement. Other chiefs to present to the Senate Committee included Les Louttit, Deputy Grand Chief for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Chief Gordon Beardy of the Muskrat Dam First Nation. Senate hearings took place Sept. 15 in Thunder Bay.